Senior hitting cleanup, pitching in on the moundWhen La Jolla High School baseball coach Gary Frank was looking for another pitcher to add to his staff earlier this season, Kyle Zimmer quickly lent his hand, even though he hadn’t pitched regularly since his Little League days.
All Zimmer did in his first appearance was throw four no-hit innings and earn the win in a 12-2 victory over Lowell in the Lions tournament.
Zimmer, it seems, is adept at the art of adjusting on the fly. He has also made the transition from third base to first base (when he’s not pitching) this season, and in his first year as a full-time varsity starter, is leading the Vikings as their cleanup hitter.
“We had a bunch of guys who could play third, but didn’t really have anyone who could play first,” Zimmer explained. “Coach told me he felt confident that I could take the job and help the team. If it’s going to help the team get more victories, I’ll do whatever it takes.”
So far, he has clearly been doing that. Zimmer has displayed a good glove at first base, and entered the week of April 13 batting .500 (18-for-36) with two home runs, four doubles, two triples and 13 RBIs. He had helped the Vikings to a 7-5 record.
Frank said Zimmer’s emergence has been a pleasant surprise, and attributes the senior’s improved play to his increased size and strength as well as to his dedication to working on his game during the offseason.
“He’s grown into his body, and he’s made a conscious effort to drive the ball up the middle of the field this year,” Frank said. “He’s found a lot more success using the whole field. He’s become a more all-around hitter with a more balanced approach.”
Zimmer said he has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at the University of San Francisco starting next year.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “Ever since I was a little kid, one of my main goals was to play West Coast Division I baseball, and it’s great to see that all play out.”
For the next couple of months, though, he’ll continue to pitch in wherever he can for the Vikings.